Recently, we’ve had more than one past client come to us with a problem: something is wrong with their website. We take a look and oops – they’ve forgotten to renew their domain name, and someone else has taken it. Now, their website URL is pointing to something else, often something not safe for work!
Not only that, but any SEO work you’ve done is now obliterated. All those online directories and links to your site are wrong; it will take you months (or years) to regain that lost ground.
In the 1960s and 1970s, a Public Service Announcement used to run on TV asking parents: It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are? As a business owner or manager, it’s essential to know where to find the keys to your website. So it’s 2019: do you know where your domain was purchased?
What to Know About Building a Website with a Marketing Agency
Some clients will hire us to create a new website, but don’t work with us continuously on other projects. In those cases, we prefer to give you your logins and other information for your website and hosting so that you retain control. We do this because we have worked with many people who are handcuffed by their marketing agency’s proprietary website system. Every time they want a change, they have to ask their marketing team. The company has no idea who owns the URL (domain name) or where the website is hosted.
That’s a problem. The Department of Marketing builds websites on WordPress, a content management system that most people find fairly easy to use. That way, you can make some changes yourself. We also hand you login information for the website itself. If you’re hosting with us, we’re happy to give you the files anytime. When you buy a new domain with us, we ask you to log in to GoDaddy or some other domain registrar and buy it yourself. (Besides, your company can write off the expense.)
We don’t do this just to sound awesome (I mean, we ARE, of course). Really, we have watched people get burned in the past by former employees or by third parties. Making sure your company has control is just smart for both sides.
The List: What to Control with Your Website
Perhaps after weighing your options, you’d prefer to work with an agency’s proprietary system, and that’s fine. Still, we strongly urge you to create a document where you keep track of the following essential items:
Website Login – This is the login username and password that most people do have written down somewhere. If you make text changes to your site, you probably have it at hand. If you don’t, be sure to ask for it. Also, ask your marketing team to make someone from your company an admin.
Domain/URL – Your domain name or URL is your website’s address. For us, it’s deptofmarketing.com. It’s what people will type in to find your website. You need to know where you bought the domain (e.g., GoDaddy) and how to login to your account. CRITICAL TIP: Set your domain to auto-renew. That way you will not forget to renew it and then later lose it.
Hosting – Your hosting is where your website’s files are located. The URL just points where we tell it to go. The files of your website are the content: code, blog posts, images, text, and more. You must have the name of your hosting company, your login information to access it, and a contact person if possible.
A Note about Admins and Editors
We talked about being choosy on whom you make admin of your social media accounts here. You should do the same with your website information. A disgruntled employee with a bad attitude might just take advantage. Choose someone trustworthy and who has longevity with the company to be the admin, while others can be editors.
If you’re ready to take control of your website or hosting (or both), we’re happy to help.